From Lyn Roseaman, Grosvenor Square Speakers
Big goals, such as writing a book, buying a house, travelling the world, getting married, running your own successful business, etc can seem like fantasies or nice dreams because their achievement is likely to be a long way off. Yet these dreams might be described as our raison d’etre, what we’re supposed to do in life. They are our motivation, the big picture or backdrop against which we can determine what we need to do every day, week, month, etc to realise our dreams.
Experts seem to agree that because of something called the ‘Endowment Effect’, owning big dreams is essential. In psychology and behavioural economics, the Endowment Effect hypothesises that people ascribe more value to things just by owning them. And goals are just as ‘ownable’ as more tangible objects. Consequently, once you’ve set a goal, you have a strong desire to keep it and see it achieved. The science of setting goals basically says that the simple act of creating the goal helps to drive the accomplishment.
Furthermore, our brain’s reward centre feeds us with serotonin and dopamine when we achieve something. Making our goals a reality, therefore, feeds a sense of wellbeing. However, to tap into that sense of wellbeing, we need lots of short-term goals so that we achieve little and often as part of a journey towards our dreams.
To this end, we are encouraged to make our goals SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time bound. In this way, we can clearly see when we have achieved a goal. And by setting smaller, SMART goals we can reap the rewards, the feeling of wellbeing, along the journey towards the bigger more distant dream.
And there is an added bonus to setting smaller goals. If, along the way, the big picture changes, you have the flexibility to adjust your smaller goals to meet the new dream.
But is it really this simple? Probably not. Because every year, millions of us set new year’s resolutions that don’t last very long! The challenge is to create effective strategies for converting our good intentions and wishes into reality.
Mel Robbins suggests we need instant action which she has developed into the 5-second rule. She says that if you have an impulse to act on a goal, you must physically move within 5 seconds or your brain will kill the idea. Whatever your goals are, show the world, and yourself, that you’re serious by taking immediate action, however insignificant that action may seem. She argues that when you physically move, your brain starts to build new habits, rather than unthinkingly following learned behaviours. When you do something you’re not used to doing, you are in the act of building new habits and erasing existing ones.
If, for instance, you have a goal of starting your own business, get stuck into your background research online. If you want to be more assertive at work, put your hand up in the next meeting and share your opinions. If you want to complete your Toastmasters Competent Communicator manual before Pathways, produce a timeline, identify topics for each of your speeches, talk to your mentor, commit to your club’s goals. The more people who know about your goals, the more you will be invested in achieving them, getting a lovely feeling of wellbeing and projecting the self-image your brain expresses through your goals.
Wishing you a sparkling and successful 2018! Lyn.